Employers align auto-enrolment with flexible benefits enrolment

Complying with pensions auto-enrolment has given a number of UK employers the opportunity to review their overall benefits package and increase engagement in their flexible benefits schemes.

For example, law firm Mills and Reeve was able to align its auto-enrolment staging date, which was 1 November, with its annual flex enrolment window, which opened on 1 October.

The employer already had an 85% take-up in its group personal pension (GPP) plan, and the remaining 15% of staff who were eligible to be auto-enrolled were invited to a series of pensions presentations during the flex enrolment period.

Samantha Neaves, reward and HR information systems manager at Mills and Reeve, said: “While everyone is thinking about benefits, it seemed the most appropriate time to up the communications.”

Meanwhile, mobile phone organisation Three opted to postpone auto-enrolment from 1 July to 1 October to align the process with its flexible benefits enrolment window.

Seth Russell, director of reward at Three, said: “We had an established flexible benefits selection window two months after our staging date and decided to use this for auto-enrolment because the date was already fixed in employees’ minds as a time when benefits changes are made.

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“It also allowed us to merge our communications for both elements, so we could achieve much greater cut-though in the messaging and reduce the opportunity for confusion or mixed messages.”

One of the newest categories in the Employee Benefits Awards 2014 is ‘Best pensions auto-enrolment’, which will recognise employers that maximise the opportunities offered by complying with the legislation. The awards are now open to entries.